Anyone looking for a clear distinction between evidentiary standards and pleading requirement requirements as they concern complaints brought in federal court must read Judge Easterbrook's recent opinion in Kolupa v. Roselle Park Dist. (here). Among many interesting items are these distinctions:
Religious discrimination in employment is prohibited by federal law. Accordingly, all a complaint in federal court need do to state a claim for relief is recite that the employer has caused some concrete injury by holding the worker’s religion against him.... Federal complaints plead claims rather than facts.
“Any district judge (for that matter, any defendant) tempted to write ‘this complaint is deficient because it does not contain. . .’ should stop and think: What rule of law requires a complaint to contain that allegation?” Doe v. Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in original)....
[W]e reiterate ... that complaints need not plead facts and need not narrate events that correspond to each aspect of the applicable legal rule. Any decision declaring "this complaint is deficient because it does not allege X" is a candidate for summary reversal, unless X is on the list in Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).
Easterbrook's opinion is as about plaintiff-friendly as they come, which is further proof that at least some judges will follow the law to results they might not personally agree with.